WSBK: Rea fastest despite 'strange' practice crash at Jerez
World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea set the pace at Jerez in Spain despite suffering a heavy crash in FP2 on Friday.
The Kawasaki Racing Team rider, who sealed a record third successive title at Magny-Cours in France, headed team-mate Tom Sykes by six-tenths-of-a-second as he bids for his maiden win at the Spanish circuit in Saturday's opening race (12:00 BST).
Rea was involved in a high-side on his flying lap at turn 8 and said the incident took him completely by surprise.
“I had a strange crash, only on my second lap this afternoon, not doing anything silly,” he said.
“So it caught me off guard a little bit. We need to understand the data more. The bike was quickly fixed and we were able to get 20 solid minutes of track time in at the end, which were important.”
Rea achieved his fastest lap of 1m 40.291s in FP1 and also topped the times in FP2.
The 30-year-old is feeling confident with the ZX-10RR as he prepares for the penultimate round of the championship.
“The bike worked well today. We made a long stop in the first pit stop this morning, understood the bike and made some good changes,” he said.
“I then went out and I felt confident with the bike. Step by step we are getting into an area where we can start to use the softer rear tyre, and that is fine. We need to understand the front tyres a bit more now.”
Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark was third fastest overall ahead of team-mate Alex Lowes, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Ducati) and Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia completing the top six on the combined times.
Laverty said: “The afternoon had hotter conditions than the morning and I didn’t have a good run in FP2. It was a tougher session and something to address for us, as the race will likely run in hot conditions too.
“The new surface here is really good and I couldn’t believe how much grip I had when I first went out. Some of the guys were doing long race runs so it looks like it should keep up the pace for longer than before.”